The telomers of several linear plasmids of (formerly ) were studied. The plasmids pHG201, pHG204 and pHG205 carry proteins bound to their ends, as shown by gel retardation experiments. A sequence hybridizing with the terminal sequence of pHG207, a recombinant linear plasmid consisting of the left part of pHG204 and the right part of pHG205, which was analysed in a previous study by the authors, could be detected in all linear plasmids of the wild-type strains MR11 and MR22. However, only pHG204 and pHG206 carry terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) like pHG207. Cloning and sequencing of the terminal fragment of pHG204 revealed a nearly perfect TIR of 1016 bp. In contrast, the termini of pHG201 and pHG205 share little homology. Sequence analysis of the two end fragments of pHG201 revealed a similarity of only 65% within the terminal 34/32 bp and a perfect TIR of only 3 bp. The results support the assumption that long TIRs are not absolutely necessary for replication and maintenance of linear plasmids.


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